Refresh Your Outlook After a Downturn
Many businesses are cyclical, and as a result, they will experience both boom times and slow phases throughout each fiscal year. Although a panicked response might be a knee-jerk decision during a slump, it is important that small business management stays the course while planning for these periods. Let’s take a look at some tried-and-true methods for recharging your strategy and your employees after a downturn.
Get a New Point of View
During slower times, those in small business management have to take a leadership role in responding to the issue. The employees are looking to managers for what type of tone will be set. It is important to be proactive rather than waiting for the period to pass. That doesn’t mean rushing to cut staff. There are plenty of other options that should be explored, such as an increased focus on marketing or refinements of the current products to better meet the needs of customers. Managers should tap into the resource that is their staff, asking what’s working, what’s not and what they are hearing from the current clients that could stand improvement.
Don’t Automatically Cut Staff
Before asking the human resources department to make a short list of potential job cuts, small business management should try to rework staff time so that it offered a better return on investment. Perhaps a team member can change his or her job description to be focused on attracting new customers. After all, when a position is cut, there is a finite amount of money that can be saved. But if you refocus that worker instead, the potential for money generation is much larger. Remember that cuts likely will have a demoralizing effect on the remaining staff members, and the public’s opinion of the company might also suffer. If there are cuts, a severance package is the least a company can do to mitigate employees’ loss of income.
Focus on Talent
Now it’s time for those in small business management to take a good look at the employees in the room. What kinds of institutional knowledge exists there that can be tapped for fresh ideas Maybe some new blood would recharge the room. If there have been staffing cuts, it’s important not to overload the remaining staff. Overworked employees will not be brand advocates. If a new skill set is required, managers can look for accelerated training opportunities so employees can put new approaches into practice. Again, it is always key to ask current workers for ideas and allow them a little leeway on trying new things. Managers never know what tiny tweak — whether it’s social media, a new hire or a new policy ï will make all the difference in boosting the company again.
View Slumps as Opportunities
Although it can be tough to see the upside of downtimes, people working in small business management should view them as opportunities. There might be less at stake is they want to make a change when there are fewer customers involved. Managers shouldn’t be afraid to try new things, but then also be fearless when it comes to pulling the plug on new ideas that don’t work out. ïFailing quicklyï is better than sticking with something that isn’t working. The benefit of being a small business is that nimbleness allows for quick adjustments. Also, managers should be taking another look at their marketing strategies to make sure they are working in the present as well as planning for the future. It is vital to be vigilant about company reputation in this era of word-of-mouth recommendations. Downtimes might also be just the right time for management to bring out that new product they’ve been developing. If the company shows it to a few select brand champions and influencers first, that’s even better. After gleaning some customer input, it can be rejiggered and then sent out to the masses.
Company downturns may seem like a negative thing when just looking at the bottom line. However, there are constructive ways to deal with slumps, and there are destructive ways. Small business management should take a thoughtful approach to making changes, being careful not to make sweeping decisions that compromise the success of the employees and the company. A downturn might even be the perfect opportunity to take a risk and see what results.
In addition to learning how small business management can recharge your strategies, you can learn how to make solid hiring decisions and improve your companies using the resources at Mighty Recruiter as a guide.